Runo growled, tears threatening to fall from her eyes. Dan and the others had once again ditched her and Julie to go on some 'adventure'. It seemed to be happening a lot these days…ever since they had left them to go save New Vestroia from the Vestals. Then there was the deal with the attribute energy…the six ancient bakugan warriors had entrusted their power to Dan, Marucho, Shun, and the new guys…and Dan 'didn't want her to get involved' because he was afraid she could get hurt. No, he was only underestimating her…she couldn't stand it!

She felt so confused, hurt, angry…and she felt replaced. It was like Mira, Ace, and Baron had replaced Julie, Alice, and herself on the team. And, to top that all off, Dan was beginning to keep secrets from her. He didn't trust her with the plans they were coming up with…or anything!

Growling, she stood, marching over to her mirror, rubbing the tears away in the process. She looked at her reflection, noticing the red eyes from her crying. With a sigh, she pulled her hair free from the normal pigtails and pulled it into a ponytail. She walked over to her closet and threw it open, shoving some clothes out of the way before reaching a secret door. Opening it, she walked in, looking around at all the different clothes she had in the room. With a smirk, she pulled her 'uniform' off a hanger, and changed into it.

Well, just because Dan thought she was weak and needed to be protected…that didn't mean it was true! She had been doing just fine, even before the bakugan had appeared. She was the thief, the Phantom, as people had begun calling her alter ego. She had to admit, she liked how it sounded. Letting out a laugh, her hair turned black and her eyes turned to a dark purple color.

It was time for Phantom to strike again!

Elsewhere, Dan and his friends were standing outside a museum, where Phantom was supposed to strike at midnight. It had taken a lot of convincing, but he had eventually talked his parents into letting him come out this late.

"So, what do you think the Phantom looks like?" Baron asked, this being the first time he, Ace, and Mira had heard of the thief. Dan dug in his pocket and pulled out a newspaper article, which he showed to the three.

"That's Phantom, right there. They say she always escapes, no matter how tight the security is," Marucho explained, pointing at the picture. The three Vestal brawlers nodded in understanding before the group heard someone in the crowd yell.

"Hey, there she is! Up there!" a random man shouted, pointing up to the roof of the museum, where Phantom stood, a painting in her hands.

"Phantom, freeze! There's no way you can escape! Turn yourself in!" the police chief yelled. Phantom laughed and shook her head. Clearing her throat, she gave a small, mocking bow to her audience.

"Ladies and gentlemen…it's show time! Please enjoy!" she told them before she threw down a smoke bomb. When the smoke cleared, she was gone.

"Find her! She couldn't have gotten far!" the police chief ordered. The civilians, seeing that the show was over, began to leave.

Back at Runo's house, Phantom hopped into her room, painting in hand. She placed the painting onto her bed before closing the window. It was then that a knock was heard from her door. She tensed…who could that be?

"Runo, it's me, Julie," she heard her friend say. She walked over and opened the door, letting the girl in before walking over to her bed and picking the painting up.

"So, you got it, huh?" Julie asked. She had discovered her friend's secret life after Dan and Drago had left, Marucho having joined them because he jumped into the portal at the last second. She had walked into Runo's room one night to find Phantom removing her disguise, turning back into Runo. Runo had panicked until Julie assured her that she wouldn't expose her and her family's secret before revealing that she was also a thief back home. So, while she was here, she sometimes helped Runo/Phantom steal things.

"Yeah, it really wasn't that hard…but guess who I saw when I looked down at the crowd."

"Who? Was it someone famous?"

"No, Julie…it was Dan and the others."

"Oh…so that's why Dan wasn't at home."

"Yeah, his mom told me he was out with friends and would be back late, but I didn't think he would be there…and he didn't even tell us or invite us! Yes, Julie, I'm aware that I couldn't go because I am the thief, but still…it's like he doesn't care anymore…" Runo explained, placing the painting in the storage area in her secret closet before walking out and falling onto her bed.

"Don't say that…he cares…"

"Then why are we always being left out of everything and not being told the secrets like the old days when we really were a team. Marucho wouldn't be a part of this if he hadn't jumped into that portal at the last second…but he is…and so are Dan and Shun. I hate it! They're looking down on us and thinking that we're weak and need to be protected."

"Runo…how about we go downstairs and get you a cup of hot chocolate?" Tigrerra suggested, hopping up onto her partner's shoulder, Gorem doing the same with Julie.

"Yes, with lots of marshmallows," he added. Runo and Julie let out a laugh.

"Thanks guys…I mean it…" Runo told them, a smile on her face.

"Hey, what are friends for?" Julie asked, pushing the other girl out of the room and downstairs, where the hot chocolate was located.